Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
on 3 November 2010
Mirroring the views of a few other fans/reviewers on these pages, I have had a slight problem getting Alter Bridge's third offering. As with their sister band (or mother band is probably more accurate) Creed, they were never favourites for the thinking person's choice of music and will always sail the calm seas of being an easy listening group, despite the frequent heavy interludes and grungey tonal sections. However MOR they seem, they have given the world 2 pretty excellent albums full of songs of truly heartfelt yearning and up tempo rockers. The first album was lumpy but held a lot of gems that have matured well. Blackbird was more assured and worked exceptionally well as an album with 14 tracks, creating some new classics along the way. AB III (very unoriginal title by way the way - but I suppose they're not alone) is still very accomplished technically but the material, while there not being a dud song on the album, lacks a certain spark that their previous 2 albums relied on. They are more seasoned musicians and this is evident as the overall tone of the album is a melancholy one, but I am sad to say that Creed's recent 4th album is far better than this.
'Slip to the Void' starts nicely, and serenely, soon kicking in with the heavy riffs but fails to excite. Even with repeated listens this is true. 'Isolation' I really wanted to like. It starts off with very crunchy guitars chugging away - lovely. But the chorus, which is usually something that they do very well, falls a bit flat. As with most of this album it is by no means a bad song, in fact it is a quite passable single, but it is a 3 star effort at best. 'Ghosts of Days Gone By' is one of the few tracks that raise the bar. Unortunately it is no classic like 'Open Your Eyes' or 'In Loving Memory' or the many others they have created in just 2 albums but it is a great song. And the middle section's downtuned mosh-fest is simply an awesome example of the band working at their best. Full marks. That cannot be said of 'All Hope is Gone'. It's ok but plods along as an also-ran that should not really be involved in any live show. Again, not bad, just a bit dull. Shame. 'Still Remains' is a little better but not much and treads much the same territory as 'All Hope...'. 'Make it Right' is I'm afraid much the same. The chorus is relatively catchy but it's no stand-out.
The second half of the album is slightly better but only slightly. 'Wonderful Life' is great. It's a ballad and is rather saccharine at times but as a song it works very well. 'I Know It Hurts' is probably the best track on here. It's not outstanding but has a great structure and a knockout chorus. This and 'Ghosts of Days...' would probably be the only tracks that would make it onto a playlist of mine. And possibly 'Wonderful Life'. 'Show me a Sign' starts well and is ok but for a 5+ minute track it ambles on a little with a chorus that is good but doesn't hold up after repeated listens. 'Fallout' is pretty good but not as good as 'I Know it Hurts' although they are similar in structure. 'Breathe Again' could have been removed in my opinion as it is just rather boring. 'Coeur d'Alene' and 'Life Must Go On' are very good. They are not perfect and do not excite as they should but they are some of the best material on the album. The final track is hard to judge. I want to like it but just find it lacking somehow. I think with more listens this could be a very interesting track, maybe even the best here, but after the 4 or so I have listened to so far the jury is out.
As a whole it does almost work. The tone is consistent throughout and their abilities as a group are faultless. They can write great songs. They probably will again (every band has one or two bad albums) but for the moment AB III is simply their least interesting album to date.